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How Parliament Works


ForewordParliament: its home and originsMid-Victorian masterpiece: Parliament in its settingThe King's palaceThe King's summonsThe development of the two HousesThe fireThe winning designA Victorian ParliamentThe New Palace todayThe Robing Room and Royal GalleryThe Chamber of the House of LordsMembers' Lobby and the Chamber of the House of CommonsWestminster HallThe palace and parliamentary vocabulary'We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us'Time and spaceThe shoe pinchesThe pressuresNew buildingPortcullis HouseLords accommodationParliament or building siteThe parliamentary estateWho is in Parliament?The CommonsThe size of the CommonsToo big?The constituenciesThe candidatesElections: when?Elections: who can vote?Elections: the timetableElection expensesIs the Commons politically representative?Are the members of the Commons representative?AgeOccupation and educationWomen in ParliamentEthnic minoritiesDoes it matter?The Speaker's Conference on Parliamentary RepresentationThe reputation of parliamentTurnout: reconnecting parliament with the peopleThe LordsCurrent membershipArchbishops and bishopsLife peers under the Life Peerages Act 1958Life peers under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876Hereditary peersAttendancePoliticsLeaving the LordsThe QueenAbove politics: political neutralityChoosing a Prime MinisterA hung parliamentAnother method?The sovereign as statesmanRunning ParliamentThe House of CommonsThe SpeakerThe office of SpeakerThe independence of the SpeakerThe election of the SpeakerThe roles of the SpeakerMaintaining orderHolding the ringThe Speaker's powers in the ChamberThe casting voteRecalling the HouseStatutory and other functionsThe voice of the HouseConferences and CommissionsPrecedent and changeThe Deputy SpeakersThe Leader of the HouseThe Clerk of the HouseThe House of Commons ServiceThe House administrationThe House of Commons Commission and the Members Estimate CommitteeStrategic planningThe Management BoardEstimates and the Audit CommitteesThe House departmentsDepartment of Chamber and Committee Services (DCCS)Department of FacilitiesDepartment of FinanceDepartment of Human Resources and ChangeDepartment of Information ServicesServices shared between the Lords and the CommonsMPs' pay, allowances and IPSAMPs' pay and allowancesMPs' staffFinance for opposition parties'Short money': parties in the House of CommonsOpposition salariesWhy subsidise the opposition?State funding for political parties?The House of LordsThe Lord SpeakerThe Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speakers and Deputy ChairmenThe Leader of the House of LordsThe Clerk of the Parliaments and the staff of the HouseHouse of Lords administrationExpensesFinance for political parties in the Lords: 'Cranborne money'House of Lords fundingHow much does Parliament cost?Influences on ParliamentThe House of CommonsThe job is what you make itThe government's control of the House of CommonsControl of timeThe 'elective dictatorship'?Government patronage and collective responsibilityTheory and practiceAccountability and responsibilityThe partyThe whipsThe usual channelsThe WhipParty disciplineDissent and rebellionDissent since 1997Dissent in the 2001 parliamentDissent in the 2005 parliamentDissent in the 2010 ParliamentThe dynamics of dissentPunishmentCrossing the floorParty organisation in ParliamentThe Labour PartyThe Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP)The Parliamentary CommitteeSubject committeesRegional groupsThe Conservative PartyThe 1922 CommitteeThe Executive Committee of the 1922 CommitteePolicy committeesThe Liberal DemocratsOther partiesPolitical groupsParty leadershipThe party: conclusionPersonal influencesThe constituency: the MP's relationshipListening to constituentsConstituents' problemsWhat can the MP do?Constituents' viewsConstituency profileFighting the cornerThe constituency comes to WestminsterThe changing role of MPs - from parliamentarians to caseworkersAll-party parliamentary groupsLobby groups and lobbyistsParliamentary standardsSelf-regulation and privilegeThe Committee on Standards in Public LifeRegulating influence: a historyThe expenses scandalThe rulesLobbying for reward and paid advocacyVotingThe Ministerial CodeThe Committee on Standards and the Parliamentary Commissioner for StandardsThe Committee on StandardsDealing with complaintsChecks and balancesThe House of LordsLords and CommonsGovernmentThe political partiesPersonal interestsMembers' interests, the Code of Conduct, and the Lords Commissioner for StandardsTerritorialLobby groupsThe parliamentary day and the organisation of businessThe parliamentary calendarA parliamentThe Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011Why five years?The beginning of a parliamentA sessionThe State OpeningThe Queen's SpeechDebate on the Queen's SpeechThe pattern of the sessionProrogationClearing the decksAdjournmentsThe annual calendarRecall of parliamentThe sitting week in the CommonsA new timetable - and second thoughtsThe sitting day in the CommonsThe start of a sittingUp to the end of Question TimeAfter Question Time and up to 'the commencement of public business''At the commencement of public business'The main businessThe moment of interruptionExempted businessLate sittingsTime in the HouseScheduling of time and the Backbench Business CommitteeUse of timeAn MP's dayMinistersAttendance in the ChamberSittings and use of time in the House of LordsParliamentary papersThe Vote bundleOther parliamentary papersHouse of Lords working papersVotingElectronic voting?Deferred divisionsVoting in the LordsThe mediaThe gallery and the lobbyBroadcasting ParliamentPrivilegeFreedom of speechExclusive cognisanceExclusive cognisance: the 'Damian Green affair'Parliament and the courtsPrivilegeContemptsPunishmentProcedureWhy procedure? And why is it complicated?Consistent, certain and clearMaking the lawIs Parliament 'sovereign'?Parliament's legislative supremacyCharacteristics of legislative supremacyLimitations on legislative supremacyWho makes the law?Types of legislationGovernment billsOriginsFrom proposal to billIs a government bill really draft legislation?The pressure of legislationProgramming and guillotinesDraft bills and 'pre-legislative scrutiny'Anatomy of a billCommons stagesIntroduction and first readingSecond reading'Fast-track' billsCommitteePublic bill committeesMembershipThe ChairMeetingsAmendments, selection and groupingHow the committee goes through the billScrutiny by debate and amendment: how useful is it?Committees of the whole HouseSelect committeesReport stageThird readingPrivate members' billsBallot billsTactics and procedurePresentation, ten-minute rule and Lords private members' billsSuccess and failureShould it be easier?Lords stagesCharacteristics of Lords legislative procedureLimitations on Lords powers: ancient practice and the Parliament ActsThe Salisbury conventionLords impact on legislationDisagreement between the Houses: the balance of powerPing-pong . . . or poker?Royal Assent and implementationWhat is the law?Post-legislative scrutinyPrivate legislationHybrid billsDelegated legislationDefinitionsPurposeParliamentary controlProcedureNegative instrumentsAffirmative procedureLords proceedings on Statutory InstrumentsImproving parliamentary controlLords Select Committee on Delegated PowersLegislative reform ordersRemedial ordersChurch of England measuresParliament and the taxpayerThe constitutional principlesThe annual cyclesThe Budget cycleThe Finance BillBudget informationThe Autumn StatementThe estimates cycleResource accountingPublic spending plansVotes on AccountMinistry of Defence Votes AMain estimatesSupplementary estimatesExcess VotesRoll-up motions and estimates daysSupply BillsThe reporting cycleDepartmental annual reports and accountsMid-year reportsSelect committee scrutiny of expenditure and performanceThe Comptroller and Auditor General and the National Audit OfficeThe Public Accounts CommitteeConclusionDebatesSubstantive motionsThe Syria debateNeutral motionsDisposing of a motionWithdrawalSupersedingQuorumMotions on opposition daysGovernment substantive motionsBackbench businessDaily adjournment motionsRecess debatesEmergency debatesWestminster HallDebates in the Grand Committees and the Standing Committee on Regional AffairsEarly day motionsThe rules and conventions of debate'Good temper and moderation'The purpose of debateThe uses of debateDebates in the House of LordsOpposition and backbench debatesGovernment motionsDebates on reports of select committeesQuestions for Short DebateConventions of debateValue of debate: the chamber of experienceCalling to account: questionsQuestions in the CommonsWhat are questions?The rules for questionsTabling a questionThe answersCostOral questionsQuestion TimeTabling oral questionsQuestion Time: on the dayThe art of the supplementaryShort and sharpPreparing for Question TimePrime Minister's Questions (PMQs)Why the 'engagements question'?Prime Minister's Questions: on the dayIs PMQs too noisy?Urgent questionsQuestions answered at the end of Question TimeWritten questionsWritten statementsAre questions effective?Questions in the House of LordsQuestions for oral answer (starred questions)Questions for short debateQuestions for written answerPrivate notice questionsStatementsPublic petitionse-PetitionsMPs' lettersCalling to account: select committeesSelect committees in the House of CommonsIntroductionThe development of select committeesUnsystematic scrutinyThe committeesDepartmental committees'Cross-cutting' committeesEnvironmental Audit CommitteeEuropean Scrutiny CommitteeLiaison CommitteeCommittee of Public AccountsPublic Administration CommitteeJoint Committee on the National Security Strategy'Legislative' committeesJoint Committee on Consolidation, &c., BillsJoint Committee on Human RightsRegulatory Reform CommitteeJoint Committee on Statutory InstrumentsInternal committeesBackbench Business CommitteeProcedure CommitteeCommittee of SelectionCommittee of PrivilegesCommittee on StandardsFinance and Services Committee and the Administration CommitteeAd hoc committeesIntelligence and Security CommitteeHow committees workOrders of reference and powersThe power of compulsionMembershipChairsStaffA committee's workThe start of an inquiryTaking evidenceTravelThe reportThe government replyConsensusDealing with a select committeeSelect committee activityWhat are select committees doing?How effective are select committees?Effort equals success: the role of committee membersA bargain priceSelect committees in the House of LordsThe committeesSessional (or permanent) select committeesAd hoc (temporary) committeesThe processOutcomesJoint committeesParliament and EuropeBackgroundMembershipCloser unionThe European debateLaw-making and sovereigntyThe European CouncilThe Council of the European UnionThe European CommissionThe European ParliamentOther institutions and associated bodiesEuropean legislation: typesEuropean legislation: procedureHow to influence European legislationEuropean scrutiny at WestminsterWhat is subject to scrutiny?The explanatory memorandumThe European Scrutiny Committee of the House of CommonsDebatesThe European Union Committee of the House of LordsScrutiny clearance and the scrutiny reserveHow effective is the scrutiny process?National parliaments and the Lisbon TreatyWhat future role for national parliaments?Closer cooperation between national parliamentsA closer relationship between MPs and MEPs?Other international relationsThe future of ParliamentModernisation, reform and effectivenessA reality checkThe House of CommonsThe credit sideChanges in the CommonsPresent strengthsWhat next?Engagement and reconnectionThe reputation of Parliament and its membersRecallEase and attraction of votingDigital democracyReferendumsA House Business CommitteeA fixed calendar?Restoration and renewal: the effect of moving outLegislation: public billsDelegated legislationPrivate legislationParliamentary QuestionsReconnecting committees and the ChamberQualified majoritiesA zero-sum gameThe House of LordsThe backgroundThe Wilson proposalsThe departure of the hereditary peers and a Royal CommissionThe Constitutional Reform Act and the departure of the Law LordsThe House of Lords Reform Bill 2012House of Lords Reform Act 2014Future reform of the House of LordsModernisation of practice and procedure in the LordsConclusionSources of information about Parliament
 
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